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In its original guise Sebadoh was a different beast to the melodic lo-fi outfit it would become. “Eric and I started out as a duo,” Barlow recalls. “I played ukulele and Eric played drums with a sheet thrown over him.” Barlow had already contributed an acoustic track to You’re Living All Over Me, which foreshadowed the songwriting style he’d embrace in Sebadoh. While it’s reasonable to assume that such an aesthetic was a surprise to both Barlow’s Dinosaur Jr fanbase, and the fans who’d known him from his earlier hardcore days, Barlow says he was never conscious of a negative reaction from his existing fans. “I never got the sense that people thought about it that way. I suppose I only heard from people who liked what we were doing. It was never an option to follow in the footsteps of Dinosaur Jr.”

Barlow’s final days in Dinosaur Jr had been characterised by a palpably dysfunctional communications environment; with Sebadoh, Barlow found he and Gaffney had plenty to talk about. “It was much more communicative,” Barlow says. “We talked a lot about what we wanted to do. We spent lots of nights up on various substances, and there was also a lot more communication in our live shows.”

Gaffney eventually left Sebadoh in 1993, not long after the band released Bubble And Scrape. Having threatened to leave the band previously, Barlow wasn’t at all surprised. “He actually did leave the band on multiple occasions!” Barlow laughs. “On our first tour opening for Fugazi, we had a series of multi-date shows, and Eric quit two weeks before the tour, so Jason [Loewenstein] and I had to learn to play as a duo. So Eric set the precedent right there for leaving the band.” he says. Some time later Gaffney sent Barlow and Loewenstein a letter stating his demand for a third of the band’s record advance, to take a lion’s share of the songwriting and a commitment not to tour. For Barlow, Gaffney’s demands were out of the question. “It just wasn’t an option.”

Having broken through with Sebadoh III in 1990, and cemented its following with Bubble And Scrape, Sebadoh released Bakesale and Harmacy in 1994 and 1996. Both Bakesale and Harmacy exhibited a departure from Sebadoh’s previous avowedly lo-fi sound. “In a way Bakesale is a less sophisticated record than the previous records,” Barlow says. “When we had Gaffney there the band was more dynamic. But we did want the music to be more sonically consistent. So I think Bakesale was more streamlined,” he says.

Barlow has described the time spent writing and recording Bakesale as a “good time” for him, an assessment that reflects both personal and musical elements. “It was my own state of mind,” he says. “With Gaffney leaving for the last time it was liberating, and that was combined with being in relationship with my now wife.” The cover of Bakesale, featuring a toddler peering inquisitively into a toilet, has long become one of the more iconic album covers. “That’s actually a picture of me that my mom took when I was one year old,” Barlow says. “We were thinking of concepts for the album cover, and I’d found this other mysterious photo from my childhood. I chose that toilet photo for the single cover, on the B-side, but Subpop suggested we use it for the cover of the album.”

If Bakesale was the zenith of Sebadoh’s recording career, Harmacy was approaching the nadir. The record has its supporters; Barlow isn’t necessarily one of them. “I still don’t think Harmacy sounds so good – it’s a bit over produced,” Barlow says. “At the beginning of the recording it was suggested that we fire Bob Fay, because otherwise the songs wouldn’t take shape, so I think that initial thing created a cloud over the record.”

By the late 1990s Sebadoh was teetering on the edge of break-up, its brief shot at commercial fame a victim of fleeting popular tastes and industry interest. In 1999 Sebadoh ceased playing, albeit without a formal announcement of a break-up. “We felt like it had run its course. We ended a tour in Dallas playing to a crowd of 30 people, when we’d sold out the venue a few years before. People weren’t really interested in the new record, and there was other new stuff coming out – we were the old guard moving on,” Barlow says philosophically.

Sebadoh reformed initially in 2007 (with Gaffney on drums), and has continued to play the occasional show. 2011 sees the band return to Australia, with Bob D’Amico replacing Gaffney on drums. “We’ll be focusing mainly on Bakesale and Harmacy, but with some other stuff thrown in as well,” Barlow says. Barlow hopes the opportunity will arise to record some new Sebadoh music at a suitable time in the future. “Yeah, we’ve talked about it,” he says. “I hope we can find the time and space to do that.”